Each Middle School student participates in Band, Choir, or Strings. The music curriculum incorporates the content areas of literacy, analysis, evaluation, history, and singing, and instrumental skills through their ensemble experience.Students advance the musical and technical aspects of their skills in preparation for performance experiences in school concerts, festivals, and Ohio Music Educators Association events such as Solo and Ensemble adjudication.
The Middle School Choir builds on the musical and vocal skills developed in the Lower School through rehearsal and performance. Healthy singing technique is the focal point of the curriculum, covering correct posture, supportive breathing, tone quality, and sound placement. Students concentrate on intonation work and vowel unification in order to develop an effective ensemble sound in 2- to 4-part harmony. Through an expansive repertoire, students have an opportunity to sing in different styles and languages from a variety of cultures and time periods that allows them to appreciate the historical and cultural relevance of music. Students also evaluate their own work and the work of others by writing responses to recordings and live performances they hear. Music literacy is another focus of choral curriculum. Students develop rhythm and pitch notation skills and ear training through the solfege system.
Students in the Middle School String Ensemble develop the technical and musical aspects of playing together through rehearsal and performance in orchestra. Students work on posture and the mechanics of playing, tone production, musical literacy, and rehearsal skills. Repertoire includes music from all of the major historical periods, as well as multi-cultural and popular musical styles. Students study musical terms and key signatures and practice scales and technical exercises to improve music literacy, left hand and bowing technique, and tone production. Students also appreciate the historical, cultural, and aesthetic relevance of the repertoire they are studying. Students learn to follow a conductor, play in an ensemble, set goals towards a successful performance, and critically evaluate their performance.
The Middle School Band begins by reviewing and reinforcing previously learned skills, technique, and instrument care.We work through a progressive program to set standards of excellence, master key signatures, scales up to seven flats, and seven sharps including some relative minor keys, articulation, time signatures, and expressive elements of music.Repertoire is chosen to reinforce and further the understanding of these concepts while allowing the students to have fun making quality music together as an ensemble. Percussionists will be introduced to explore all instruments in their section.Students are expected to read, write, and perform complex rhythms, memorize and understand musical terminology, and review music selections using this correct musical terminology. The band is a balanced ensemble that performs a varied repertoire including selections from the OMEA Large Group list.
Form VI Theater
Form VI Theater focuses on learning the basics of theater. Students work on expressing emotion, as well as projecting and using proper diction. They write a short play and create technical design for the play as a group.The first quarter ends with an individual public speaking project. Each student writes a speech on a topic that relates to something that they are currently studying in their core classes and performs the speech in front of the class. Students are required to attend a live theatrical performance during the quarter and write a critique.
Form VII Theater
Form VII Theater has a special focus on Shakespeare. The first half of the quarter focuses on developing Shakespearean Monologues and learning a little about Shakespeare’s life and times. Students work on expressing emotion clearly and learn how to use gestures and facial expressions to help the audience understand the text. Students then focus on short play projects that augment material from Form VI. The Form VII project requires students to complete designs on their own but write the play and create blocking as a group. Each student also attends a live theatrical performance during the quarter and writes a critique of that performance.
Form VIII Theater
In Form VIII Theater, small groups write a short play inspired by a piece of artwork. After they have finished the writing process, each student works independently to create her own production concept for the play, including independent designs for costumes, props, make-up, hair, and sets.The class uses student set renderings to notate the blocking for the actors. After all the designs are completed, each group assembles to collaborate on the final blocking and direction for their performance and formal presentation. The quarter ends with a public speaking project in which each student researches a topic, writes a two-minute speech, and performs the speech for her class.Students also attend a live theatrical performance during the quarter and submit a critique.
The Middle School visual art program is a discipline-based studio approach to the composition and appreciation of art. Emphasis is placed on understanding the elements and principles of design and appreciating their importance in visual composition. Different cultural influences are introduced, and students explore various media in two- and three-dimensional applications.
Art VI is a studio-based course that introduces Middle School students to art. The class investigates the elements and principles of design through two-dimensional and three-dimensional problems in various media. Students will learn and practice various skills and techniques, such as one-point linear perspective and color value change by shading and tinting paint. They will also learn vocabulary that is essential in making art. Students will become familiar with different artistic styles, such as objective, non-objective, and abstract. They will also study aesthetic differences in art from other cultures and will begin to discuss and critique works of art.
Art VII is a studio course for Form VII students that builds on the concepts and skills studied in Art 6. Activities and projects explore the elements and principles of design in greater detail. For example, students learn how to draw in two-point perspective and make color value and color intensity scales to improve their understanding of color differentiation. Students continue to broaden their understanding of the arts through thematic units in various media such as oil pastels, watercolors, and clay. They also gain new perspectives by viewing and discussing artwork from cultures with different artistic aesthetics, such as French Impressionist paintings and Native American pottery. Students also continue to learn about important artists of the modern era, such as Mary Cassatt and Wassily Kandinsky, through class readings and discussions.
Art VII is a studio course for Form VIII students that offers them a deeper application of the elements and principles of design in two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. Students are introduced to drawing from observation and are required to apply what they know about composition in increasingly complex projects regarding ribbons and spheres. There is a continued emphasis on cultural differences in artistic aesthetics with an introduction to Japan’s Tokugawa Period, and on the development of skills necessary to make and critique works of art. Students engage in a range of classroom exercises such as value studies and group critiques, major projects, and art history reports. This course provides the strong foundation necessary for continued study of visual art in the Upper School.